The girls’ high school basketball season didn’t exactly begin the way Lyndhurst head coach Perrin Mosca thought it would turn out.
Before the season even started, Mosca found out that a few girls decided not to return to the team this year.
“That got me down,” said Mosca, who was once the head coach at Lyndhurst, went to Hackensack for a few seasons and returned to his roots last year. “We had high hopes for this season. Coming into the season, I was hoping for 16-to-18 wins. I wasn’t as confident with the girls not playing.”
Things didn’t exactly look good when the Golden Bears lost three of their first four games to start the 2019-2020 season.
“We lost one game in double overtime and another in overtime,” Mosca said. “So we should be a little better than we are.”
However, lately, there’s a lot more encouragement going on these days with the Golden Bears. Despite losing to Midland Park in the opening round of the Bergen County Tournament last weekend, the Golden Bears were enjoying a seven-game winning streak. The Bears currently own a 14-6 record and trail only perennial favorite Secaucus in the race for the North Jersey Interscholastic League-Liberty Division standings by a single game.
“They are playing well,” Mosca said. “They’re relying on their defense. The press is leading to easy baskets. They’re playing well as a team the last few weeks.”
Mosca knows that his team can improve.
“Part of the problem is turnovers,” Mosca said. “We had at least 30 turnovers in each lost. We don’t take good care of the ball. But yet, we still keep going. We shoot the ball a lot. We’re not worried about percentage, just taking the best shot possible and going.”
Leading the way is junior point guard Carley Martin. The 5-foot-6 Martin, the daughter of former Lyndhurst boys’ basketball coach Chuck Martin, has been nothing short of sensational.
Martin, the North Jersey Player of the Week last week, is averaging 17.4 points, which is second in the entire conference.
“She’s taken it upon herself to help us win games,” Mosca said of Martin. “She has taken on that challenge. We try to get her open looks, but when she’s on a break, she has the green light to go.”
Martin scored 26 points in wins over Bergen Charter and Hawthorne and tossed in 25 in a big win over Wood-Ridge.
Another key performer has been 5-foot-6 junior guard Gianna Alberti. She has been doing a little bit of everything for the Golden Bears, averaging 8.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals per game.
“She’s done a great job on the defensive boards,” Mosca said. “She’s a pretty good 3-point shooter. I’m trying to get her to shoot more.”
Junior Alexa Borino has been a solid scorer as well, averaging 10 points per contest. The 5-foot-6 Borino is a good scoring complement to Martin.
“She’s usually at the top of the press,” Mosca said. “She hustles all over the place and gets a lot of steals. She is able to convert off steals. She’s really been a surprise. When she plays well, the team usually plays well.”
Senior captain Madison Schafer is a 5-foot-5 guard who is averaging 5.6 points and four rebounds per game.
“Madison gives us toughness and leadership,” Mosca said. “She does a little bit of everything as well and does a great job defensively. When we play the press, she’s right in there. She’s a good ball handler and hits the occasional 3-pointer. She’s a tough player.”
Junior Kiara Salme is 5-foot-8 forward.
“She’s a great rebounder,” Mosca said. “She’s been the first girl to pick up charges and that’s been huge for us. She’s been willing to take the contact.”
Salme is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Meghan Docherty is a 5-foot-8 forward.
“She does a little bit of everything for us,” Mosca said. “She can score inside and her rebounding has been a key for us of late.”
Francesca Castagnetti is a 5-foot-4 sophomore who handles the ball well and plays solid defense. Lexi Augustyniak is a 5-foot-2 freshman guard who is the backup point guard.
“She finishes well around the rim,” Mosca said. “She’s also one of the fastest girls on the team.”
The Golden Bears might have lost their game in the Bergen County Tournament, but they are still alive in the Bergen Invitational Tournament after defeating Wood-Ridge in the first round.
“It’s been a great time for us,” Mosca said.
The Golden Bears will also compete in the NJIC Tournament that begins next week.
“We’re excited,” Mosca said. “We’re in it to win it. We have great energy the last couple of weeks and we’re playing better. I just hope we keep it up.”
The Lyndhurst girls basketball team has been playing well of late, winning seven of eight games and 13 of their last 16 games. From left are Kiara Salme, Carley Martin, head coach Perrin Mosca, Gianna Salme and Madison Schafer. Photo by Jim Hague
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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer
Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.
It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.
In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.
In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.
He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.
During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.
Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.
Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”